“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” ~ James 4:8

James 4:8 is a popular verse to quote. Well, the first part is anyway. It’s even featured prominently in The Purpose Driven Life. I tweeted it out one time, and a friend of mine gently reminded me that the second part of that verse is important, too. Maybe more important.

If you try to draw close to God and it feels hard to do because it feels like something is getting in the way, something probably is.

So often we come to God with the best of intentions but fall into old habits and ways of thinking. We’re often guilty of trying to be cool or hip or relevant, whatever that means. We define our success by the world’s standards instead of the only one that matters: God.

The Bible has made it very clear that there must be a clear separation with the world. If we do not make that separation, if we put something in between ourselves and God, we are literally making it harder to see him. We are making it harder to hear his voice. This is a difficult place for faith to grow.

Is your loyalty divided? Examine your heart and see if that’s the case. Right before bedtime might be a good time to try this. Look back over your day and really examine your priorities in the light of this verse. Ask God to reveal to you anything you have in your life that is getting in the way of your faith. And make any necessary changes.

Commit to God. 100%. Nothing less will do. Life is too short and God is too good to miss out on the riches he has in store for us.